Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Post Dad's Good Memories Were of Our Childhoods

I've mentioned before that my Dad tended to gunnysack.  That's a pop psychology term for carrying around a bag full of old resentments, for use in the present time.  

So it was unusual for him to share memories that were pleasant ones.  Most of his pleasant memories were of us when we were younger.  He really enjoyed watching us grow up.  It's nice to be able to make someone happy just by being there and being yourself.  

One story he had about my sister, S-2, illustrated what he thought of as her superior attunement to nature.  When she was about 3, she walked up to a fly that was sitting on the wall.  Now flies are skittish.  It's just their nature to flee if they see movement.  So he was surprised when she slowly and calmly held out her finger near it and it crawled off of the wall and onto her finger.  It didn't stay there long, but while it was there, she just calmly observed it.

He had another story that illustrated what he thought of as her emotional intensity.  At probably about the same age, something made her sad or angry and she stood and dried.  The standard response of adults to crying children, in our house, was to politely ignore the trespass until the child regained control.  

Dad was therefore standing nearby while S-2 cried.  I picture him standing with a cup of coffee and a cookie, but he probably didn't describe the scene that thoroughly.  That's just the way I picture him, when I think of him standing around.

Dad watched as she cried.  It hadn't been a big thing that set her off but, being emotionally intense, she was desolated.  The house we lived in at the time was the house that he and Mom had built themselves, with the help of other relatives.  The floors were hardwood, throughout.  As he watched, her tears hit the hardwood floor.

He wasn't paying particular attention.  He was just relaxed and in the area.  (Which is why I think there was a cup of coffee and a cookie involved.)  Slowly he noticed that the tears weren't falling at her feet.  They were jumping out nearly a foot in front of her.  This was mildly amazing to him.

I can picture him sliding quietly to the side for a better view as they arced from the top of her cheeks to the floor ahead.  I'm sure he never said a word to her at the time, but he remembered it and talked about it later.  More than once.  He always told it with fondness.

That was another sign that he enjoyed and loved us.  Because a person can't help being born with emotional intensity, but they need to learn to control it.  Yet I never heard any trace of disapproval in his voice when he told the story.

No comments:

Post a Comment